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2020 AL Gold Glove Final Predictions

The Rawlings Gold Glove finalists for the 2020 season have been announced. There are some familiar faces missing, let’s take a look at who deserves one in the American League.

American League Gold Gloves

Pitcher

Finalists: Griffin Canning (Los Angeles Angels), Kenta Maeda (Minnesota Twins), Zach Plesac (Cleveland Indians)

Griffin Canning had 3 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), tied with Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi for the league lead for pitchers. Maeda had 1 and Plesac had 2, but I think that Canning deserves to win this award, just based on his slight advantage in DRS.

Catcher

Finalists: Yasmani Grandal (Chicago White Sox), James McCann (Chicago White Sox), Roberto Perez (Cleveland Indians).

GrandalMcCannPerez
DRS5 (T-2nd)5 (T-2nd)6 (1st)
FRM4.0 (1st)2.3 (2nd)1.4 (3rd)
CS%46.2%33.3%71.4%

Although leading framer, Boston’s Christian Vazquez, was left off of the ballot, each of these three catchers has a chance to win. With Grandal and McCann, the White Sox had an elite catching tandem in 2020, but Vazquez may have been my pick had he not been left off the list. I think this Gold Glove award should go to Yasmani Grandal.

First Base

Finalists: Yuli Gurriel (Houston Astros), Matt Olson (Oakland Athletics), Evan White (Seattle Mariners)

GurrielOlsonWhite
DRS2 (3rd)5 (2nd)7 (1st)
OAA2 (T-2nd)3 (1st)2 (T-2nd)
UZR0.9 (3rd)2.5 (1st)2.2 (2nd)

Despite great defensive efforts from Jose Abreu (2 OAA) and Carlos Santana (5 DRS), the three finalists came from the AL West. Last years’ Gold Glove went to Matt Olson, who is a finalist and maybe the favorite to win it again. The 36-year-old Gurriel had only one error and a fielding percentage of .998, but the advanced metrics favor White and Olson. My pick for the AL Gold Glove at 1st Base is the Mariners rookie, Evan White.

Second Base

Finalists: Cesar Hernandez (Cleveland Indians), Danny Mendick (Chicago White Sox), Jonathan Schoop (Detroit Tigers), Nicky Lopez (Kansas City Royals)

HernandezLopezMendickSchoop
DRS6 (2nd)8 (1st)4 (3rd)0 (4th)
OAA4 (2nd)6 (1st)0 (4th)2 (3rd)
UZR3.8 (1st)1.4 (3rd)0.3 (4th)2.4 (2nd)

Mendick had a solid defensive runs saved, but he lacks behind the others in the other stats. Schoop had a good ultimate zone rating, but he also placed behind Hernandez and Lopez in the other categories. Hernandez had a great year, with the bat and with the glove, finishing with the best UZR for an AL 2B, but Lopez led the four candidates in DRS and OAA, my two favorite defensive stats. Originally, there was a mistake in the announcement, leaving Lopez off, but I believe that he deserves to win the 2B Gold Glove award.

Shortstop

Finalists: Carlos Correa (Houston Astros), J.P. Crawford (Seattle Mariners), Niko Goodrum (Detroit Tigers)

CorreaCrawfordGoodrum
DRS8 (1st)6 (2nd)3 (3rd)
OAA0 (3rd)4 (2nd)5 (1st)
UZR-0.7 (3rd)2.5 (1st)2.2 (2nd)

None of the three finalists from last season, defensive wizard Andrelton Simmons, MVP finalist Marcus Semien, and Indians star Francisco Lindor, repeated as finalists in 2020. Lindor tied Goodrum for the AL lead in OAA, had a 2 DRS and 5.8 UZR, a massive snub for the top three finalists. Although I believe the award should’ve gone to Lindor, out of the remaining choices, Crawford deserves to win the Gold Glove, despite only leading in UZR, in my opinion, the worst of the three stats.

Third Base

Finalists: Isiah Kiner-Falefa (Texas Rangers), Yoan Moncada (Chicago White Sox), Gio Urshela (New York Yankees)

Kiner-FalefaMoncadaUrshela
DRS8 (1st)-1 (3rd)6 (2nd)
OAA4 (1st)3 (2nd)-1 (3rd)
UZR1.1 (3rd)3.5 (2nd)5.4 (1st)

Last year’s Platinum Glove award winner, Oakland A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, missed half of the season due to injury, opening up the third base gold glove for other candidates. Kiner-Falefa seems like the obvious choice to me here, leading in both OAA and DRS, with Moncada and Urshela both struggling in one of the stats.

Left Field

Finalists: Alex Gordon (Kansas City Royals), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays), Kyle Tucker (Houston Astros)

GordonGurrielTucker
DRS1 (2nd)-3 (3rd)3 (1st)
OAA -2 (T-2nd)-2 (T-2nd)3 (1st)
UZR3.1 (1st)1.2 (2nd)1.1 (3rd)
Alex Gordon, 8 time Gold Glove award winner, robbing a HR

Alex Gordon, who took home the award in 2019 and has won 8 Gold Glove awards in his 14-year career, announced his retirement following this season. Kyle Tucker had a breakout offensive season to pair with his above-average defense, and Gurriel is an interesting pick as a finalist. None of the top 5 in LF DRS leaderboards finished in the top 3 in Gold Glove voting, most likely due to a lack of innings. Gurriel is an interesting pick, with below-average numbers in DRS and OAA. Kyle Tucker is my choice here, although I like UZR more for outfielders than infielders.

Center Field

Finalists: Byron Buxton (Minnesota Twins), Ramon Laureano (Oakland Athletics), Luis Robert (Chicago White Sox)

BuxtonLaureanoRobert
DRS11 (1st)5 (3rd)8 (2nd)
OAA3 (T-2nd)3 (T-2nd)7 (1st)
UZR2.5 (3rd)3.4 (1st)2.6 (2nd)

Rays Center Fielder Kevin Kiermaier (10 DRS, 5 OAA, 7.7 UZR) seems like he should be the favorite to win the gold glove, but he didn’t even finish top 3. He leads AL Center Fielders in UZR and was just 1 DRS short of Buxton. Kiermaier would’ve been my pick had he been a finalist, but out of the remaining 3, Robert is my choice.

Right Field

Finalists: Clint Frazier (New York Yankees), Joey Gallo (Texas Rangers), Anthony Santander (Baltimore Orioles)

FrazierGalloSantander
DRS4 (3rd)12 (1st)8 (2nd)
OAA2 (2nd)3 (1st)1 (3rd)
UZR3.8 (2nd)6.1 (1st)1.1 (3rd)

Frazier played way fewer innings, but Gallo leads in all three stats, this seems like an obvious pick. If the voters get this right, the Rangers slugger should bring home his first Gold Glove.

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